Tips for Retailers Moving to a New Location

Moving a retail store to a new location has become increasingly common as companies look to respond to a changing retail landscape. Many businesses and brands continue to overachieve and may be looking, suddenly, to expand into a bigger location. Other retailers decide a move is necessary for external factors…Consumer behavior, foot traffic patterns, and whole neighborhoods are apt to change. In fact, in recent years, these changes have only accelerated as part of the e-commerce revolution. For a lot of companies, their retail brand would otherwise be healthy—were it not for the fact that their store was located in a dying shopping mall.

While relocation inevitably creates certain challenges and costs, it can also be an opportunity for businesses—even those which are moving out of necessity. Between choosing a new, optimal location and updating the retail space, stores can upgrade the customer experience they offer, often in profound ways that breathe new health and vitality into the business and the bottom line.

Tips for Relocating a Retail Store

Before tackling specific tasks, it’s good idea to take some time and create a checklist. This list can include things to do, things to avoid, and general tips to follow. Not everything on the following list will apply to every business, and there are likely a few odd tasks that apply only to your business. But these tips for relocating your business is a great place to start for creating your own checklist.

  • Try to time the move to coincide with the down season. Most retailers have some time of seasonal lull. The beginning of summer is a popular time with the goal of being up and running
  • Strongly consider looking for a lease. The flexibility to more easily relocate is one of the huge benefits in leasing—rather than buying—a commercial property and retail store. One thing’s for certain: The retail industry isn’t done changing. Not by a long shot.
  • Liquidate as much inventory as you reasonably can. Even for assets other than inventory, it may make more sense to sell and buy something slightly different that’s tailored for the new space.   
  • Create a budget and a list of things to buy. This will evolve over time, and that’s okay but keep the information up to date. Where do you need to spend more? Where can you save money? What items are you forgetting? What items are no longer necessary?  
  • Make a plan for your employee staff. Can they help with the move? Should they, or would a professional moving company be a better choice? Should you encourage employees to take vacation time, or ask them to work overtime? All while reassuring them their job is secure.  

How to Right Size Your Effort

There are a ton of resources out there to help retail businesses. While they should certainly be scaled for your retail business, store size, and budget, there is often a general tendency for smaller companies to undersize the resources they deploy for moving to a new location—but also a tendency for larger companies to oversize and mistakenly deploy the resources they marshal. You need to be willing and in a position to make a sizable investment in relocating and setting up your new space. At the same time, too many owners and executives see moving their business as something that can be taken care of just by throwing money at the problem.

For the largest retailers, this harmful overlap of resources is evident in plenty of areas beyond just relocating. A couple years ago, Wal-Mart realized they had too many in-store merchandisers operating in their stores so that it was impossible to effectively implement the various rules and recommendations they were receiving.

Use Store Planning and Planograms from the Start

Speaking of merchandising strategies, it’s essential that you think through and have the design features at your disposal to feel confident in how to best set up your new retail floor space. Especially for businesses and brands that are expanding for the first time and moving to a bigger location, store planning and planograms may be a relatively new topic. HME Business Management Solutions offers this online discussion about the importance of planograms to the retail industry.

It’s important to continuously monitor the sales performance of store displays and sections. Periodically updating the retail space is part of any smart retail management plan, but you still need to have a plan. Store planning resources and planogram software are a big part of creating this plan. There are several planogram software companies out there to choose from, but here is one great option for retailers who need store planning and planogram software as part of moving into a new location. Without these types of resources, you may finish moving into and setting up your new store only to discover you have to start from scratch, more or less, to make the best use of the floor space.